CARSTAIRS – Carstairs town council has approved 2020 mill rates, including a rate of 6.50 for residential on a tax levy of $3,649,554.16. The rate is the same as in 2019.
The move came by way of motion at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, which was held by teleconference.
The non-residential rate is 8.31330 on a tax levy of $523,711.38. That rate is also the same as in 2019.
By way of example, the tax bill on a residence assessed at $400,000 can be calculated by dividing 400,000 by 1,000 and multiplying the total by 6.50.
Mayor Lance Colby says the decision to keep the residential and non-residential rates the same as in 2019 had to do, at least in part, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We felt it was better at this time especially to try and keep costs at a minimum for the people as far as taxes goes,” said Colby. “When this is all hitting, if you start increasing taxes it would be an extra burden on businesses and everyone else.”
The machinery and equipment rate is also 8.31330 on a tax levy of $470.87, while the special vacant rate is 3.28391 on an assessment of $6,640.
The Alberta School Foundation Fund residential rate is 2.58173 on a levy of $1,454,785.26. The rate in 2019 was 2.537.
The non-residential rate for March 31 is 3.87574 on a levy of $61,039.83. The rate for Dec. 31 is also 3.87574 on a levy of $183,119.47.
The Mountain View Seniors' Housing rate is 3.8525 on a level of $241,379. Last year the rate was 2.53.
The Mountain View Regional Waste Commission rate is 1.76, compared with 2.28 in 2019.
The policing rate is 1.40 on a tax levy of $88,000.
Total assessment is $671,080,470, including $561,469,870 residential.
The town has not had to draw on reserves, said Colby.
“Everything was good without that,” he said. “We just didn’t put away as much as we would normally. We didn’t do that this time because we felt that we able to do it the way we did and that was best for everybody to do it that way.”
Asked if the town will need to be able to keep the tax rates unchanged in 2021, he said, “We will take another look at it next year. It will depend on where our assessments go next year and on the bills that are coming in.”
Council also passed the 2020 budget during the same meeting.
The budget, which is an estimate of revenue and expenses, calls for total revenue of $11,481,466.
Revenue includes $6,320,070 from taxes and requisitions, $53,753 from general administration, $169,157 from fire department, $1,096,000 from water, $437,005 from sanitary, $453,334 from garbage, and $1,307,600 from golf course.
Total expenses are estimated to be $10,341,439, including $352,178 for fire department, $437,304.82 for policing, $688,315.74 for roadways, $841,757 for water, $365,997 for garbage, $564,482 for arena, and $1,270,209 for the golf course.
The town took over ownership of the Carstairs Community Golf Club in October 2019.
“It was a good move for the town in the longterm,” said Colby. “We think we can work it more efficiently and get it running to a good level where it is stable and where it is not going to hurt us in our overall picture of our town budget management,” he said.
“We’ve done a lot of work and upgrades there. We’ve run the water and sewer to it.”
The budget sets the mayor’s remuneration at $25,760 per year, the deputy mayor $22,411, and councillors $19,835. The per diem rate is $90 for less than two hours, $180 for half day and $360 for full day.